Dear Wounded Heart,
Today I told you to toughen up. When an old wound was reopened unexpectedly and I felt the sharpness of a knife cut through it, I said, ‘You shouldn’t be feeling this pain. You should be over that by now, don’t be ridiculous. The timeline of healing for this wound is long over.’ Yet in shame I hung my head, because despite telling you these things, you just went right on bleeding.
Today wasn’t the only day you’ve been told to stop feeling.
‘Have a cup of cement and harden up’
‘You’ll be right’
‘Don’t be so soft’
‘Just suck it up’
‘You’re being overly sensitive’
If these words aren’t said explicitly by myself or others, you hear them anyway, clearly written in the cultural undertones surrounding you on every side. But on you go, beating, and bleeding.
And while you bleed, instead of letting love, comfort and understanding tend to your wounds, I run to find distractions so I don’t have to stare at your ugliness. Mindless scrolling through the emptiness of social media soon sends me into a world of foggy ‘reality’ that belongs to everybody but me. Here I can hide from your scars, your wounds, your pain, your humanity; and so your cries for attention become dimmed and distorted.
I try to tell my friends what my heart is feeling, but I have already dismissed the pain as invalid, trying to conform to what the world tells me I should and shouldn’t feel. But it still hurts, so I ask for a Band-Aid of kind and comforting words without really stopping to say ‘What is going on with you, dear Heart? Why does this feel so painful? Are you believing lies because of this experience? What is it that is causing you pain?’
Today as I walked by the ocean, somehow the salty air and lapping waves brought me to my senses, and I began to ask you these questions. And I realised; I can’t ignore you, dear heart. I can’t let you stay broken. Burying the pain won’t fix it. Without tending to you, how will you hold all the love, joy, hope and peace you were made to carry? I need you so I can live. I need you so I can feel. I need you to be healthy so that I can live wholeheartedly, honest and true.
So, dear heart, I will stop. I will be still. I will listen. I will turn to face and feel the pain, and I will ask questions to fully understand its cause. Ah – that knife is rejection. That rejection is telling me I’m not good enough. That pain is the lie that I’ll never be enough, that I’m less than her, that I won’t ever get what I’m longing for, that I’ll always come second or third, or last.
As I uncover these painful lies piercing you, my heart, I will carry you to the Master Surgeon, the Healer of Hearts. I will lay you before him, let him hold you in his hands. Let him love you back to life and kiss you better as I cry out the pain, the bitterness, the hurt and the fear of not measuring up. I will be still and listen to the words of truth he speaks, letting them soak into you, dear heart, until you feel full and free and bursting again with life.
Dear healing Heart, thank you. Thank you for letting me feel. Thank you for ever urging me onwards to seek the truth and to turn back to my Papa, my Healer. Forgive me for so often ignoring what you’re trying to tell me. For de-validating the pain you’re feeling. For trying hard to run from your wounds instead of letting them be tended to.
You are beautiful, my heart, because God made you. You are core to the unique individual I am. You are not ‘too much’, and if people are uncomfortable when I wear you on my sleeve, even when your wounds are gaping, that’s okay. Because the truth is, you are just as beautiful when you’re hurting as when you’re bursting with joy. Your capacity for pain shows an even greater capacity for love. ‘Grief, after all, is the price we pay for love.’ – David Malham
Instead of distraction, dear Heart, I choose courage. Courage to engage with the pain you feel, so that I may discover the kindness of my God to heal and comfort, and to journey on boldly and with deep joy as I live wholeheartedly.
With love, grace and thankfulness x
Bonnie loves all things old-fashioned, exploring new places, coffee with friends and being with her family. She is passionate about broken hearts and relationships being restored through the power of vulnerability and honesty with God and others. Bonnie has a Bachelor of Humanitarian and Community Studies and a Master of International Public Health, and hopes to work in developing countries one day.
Bonnie Dowie’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/bonnie-dowie.html